So you get up from your bed and head for the bathroom.

Or you get out of the car and walk into the store.

You take your dog for a walk.

With all of these, do you pay attention to how you walk?

Do you pay attention to your posture when you walk?

I know, this sounds so tedious!

But we all get into bad habits one way or another with one or both of these.

Why does posture matter?

  1. Poor posture causes muscle tension and even discomfort and pain
  2. As the head is shifted forward, your muscles have to work overtime trying to keep your head attached to your body (sounds silly, but it’s true)
  3. As the head is shifted forward, the spinal cord inside of the spinal canal gets pulled along and eventually will be pulling against bone – this can literally wear down the spinal cord which leads to many neurological issues
  4. The previous reason also leads to mitochondrial dysfunction in certain areas over time
  5. When the nervous system takes a hit, every system is affected
  6. Lymph can’t flow well
  7. Your spine loses it’s stability
  8. In a head forward, hunched forward position, our lungs can’t expand as well so our breathing is poor (which also effects every function in the body because we need oxygen)

And here’s the thing, posture can affect your walking and walking can affect your posture.

When walking has gotten wonky it can be from:

  • Something once hurt and you subconsciously compensated and then the pattern got set
  • Your shoe soles have such wear and tear that they pull you into that pattern every time you wear them
  • Your pelvis is wonky (or your knees, spine) and you need a chiropractic adjustment
  • You carry something one sided often (dog, purse, baby, etc…)
  • You do something that leans you to one side often, and it gets translated to your walking / standing (like truck drivers leaning to one side while driving for long periods)

Maybe you’re not even sure what your walk is like.

A few things to pay attention to about your walk:

  • When you carry things, do you make sure to switch sides?
    • Putting baby on the other hip, or switching your purse from side to side, lifting your dog with the other arm…
  • When you stand up, do you stand all the way up, or are you still leaning forward when you get moving?
  • When you do anything one sided, do you make sure to do the same with the other side (in the case of sports, it tends to make you better with your normal side)
  • When is the last time you swapped out your old, beat up shoes? (The soles really get worn down over time and can wreak havoc on your walk and posture)
  • When is the last time you got adjusted by a chiropractor?

The chiropractic piece is important because just with an adjustment I have had many patients comment how they feel they can finally sit / stand straight…

…that before the adjustment it was an effort and uncomfortable to have good posture.

But paying attention to posture and walking all the time is so tedious, right?

It’s key to remember, though, that the more we get into the habit of paying attention, the more of a habit it will be to naturally slip into good posture and walking.

And there are many things throughout our daily lives that can mess with posture.

As I’m typing this, I keep correcting my posture.

Here are some things that can pull your head and shoulders forward:

  • Reading
  • Texting
  • Working on the computer
  • Gardening
  • Cooking
  • Writing
  • Nursing
  • Driving a car
  • Eating
  • Playing board games

And no, I’m not saying you should stop the above.

Yet, all of these will shorten the muscles on your chest, tighten the muscles in your neck, overstretch the muscles on your back, and damage the curves in your spine (over time).

But being more conscious of posture as we do these things will help you out.

Aside from paying attention to your walk and posture, there is also a simple exercise to do.

You’ll need a long foam roller for this.

I call this exercise “chest opener,” and this is how you do it:

  • Lay on the foam roller
    • It should go from the base of the back of your head down your spine
    • Bend your knees with your feet on the ground for stability
    • Open up your arms to the sides
    • Move your arms along the floor slowly, whenever you feel tension let your arms rest there for a bit
    • Do this for up to 10 minutes

Do not do this exercise during pregnancy.

Alright, have I gone on long enough for all of us to pay attention to our walk and posture?

I can go on you know…

For instance, the impact on our skeletal system is huge with this, and did you know our bones are hugely important for the endocrine system, not just structure?